In mid August, more than 72 prisoners, arrested during the November 2019 protests went on a two-day hunger strike in the Greater Tehran Prison to draw public attention to the danger they face because of the pandemic and ask for being let out on furlough. “... The bottom line,” they wrote in a statement, “ is that none of us are criminals, and it is our right to protest. The criminals here are the people behind the price increases and the catastrophic state of the economy. We demanded life, and have been condemned to a gradual death in this place of exile: a place lacking basic facilities for human life...”Lawyer and human rights defender, Nasrin Sotudeh, has been on a hunger strike since August 11, calling for the release of prisoners of conscience whose lives and well-being is threatened by the pandemic spreading because of the poor prison conditions.
Today, protesters, union activists, human rights defenders, and many others held for their beliefs and crimes not recognized under international law, are languishing in jail. They are awaiting their trials or serving hefty prison terms issued after unfair trials. Prison officials have abandoned early spring prevention measures, as per the Judiciary’s directives, after decision makers denied them the essential resources they repeatedly requested. Overcrowding and new arrests are making quarantines ineffective: many prisoners have been infected and some have died.